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James Street South Cookery School: Classy barbecue

Niall's Salmon Skewers with Sesame Seeds use like leaves – but fold them so they don't burn
Niall McKenna

THE Tall Ships are in town and summer has finally arrived – time to fire up the barbecue and enjoy the company of our friends and family in the great outdoors.

When I organise a barbecue it's all about the preparation, allowing me time to relax with my guests rather than slaving over a hot stove. For this reason, I have chosen two very simple recipes this week that take limited preparation time but are sure to be real crowd pleasers. These honey pork skewers and sesame salmon skewers require minimal ingredients and can be kept refrigerated until required.

Whatever you're cooking, my number one rule is make sure the charcoal is white before you begin. Soak wooden skewers in water before adding any meat, vegetables or fish so they're less likely to burn. I always like to spray meat I cook on the barbecue with apple juice as this makes the smoke stick to the meat, giving you that delicious smoky taste. Don't forget to place the skewers on the side of the barbecue, with the handle slightly off, to save the skewer and your hand from getting burnt when removing from the heat.

I find that if you serve a rice-based dish (rice salad or even quinoa) and a green/tomato salad as a side there will be plenty of food to go round. Finally, have spare vegetables in the fridge which can be quickly skewered up if you have any extra hungry guests.

SALMON SKEWERS WITH SESAME SEEDS

600g salmon fillets, cubed

16 lime leaves

100ml sesame oil

50ml soy sauce (light)

25g fresh ginger grated

3 tsp sesame seeds

3 limes quartered

Pepper

Soaking your bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before placing any food on them.

Cube your salmon and in a separate bowl make your marinade – sesame oil, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and sesame seeds. Season with black pepper and place your diced salmon into the marinade; cover with cling film; place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Skewer one piece of salmon followed by a lime leaf (fold your lime leaf over so as not to catch the flames as this will burn) and then another piece of salmon on top. You can place back in the fridge until the barbecue is ready but ideally you do not want to let the salmon over marinade. When ready to cook, place directly on the barbecue close to the edge and cook for three minutes; turn and cook again for another three minutes – this should not take long to cook. Serve with a quarter of the lime.

HONEYED PORK SKEWERS WITH BASIL PESTO

700g pork fillet, cubed

2 small courgettes, sliced

For the marinade

3 tbsp honey (local is best)

150ml dry sherry

1 tsp ginger, fresh and grated

Salt and pepper

To serve

Handful of basil leaves

1 garlic clove

Olive oil

Salt

1 lemon/ lime

Cube the pork fillet, even sizes about 2inches cubed. You want to have similar sized slices on the round for your courgettes. Again, soak your skewers.

For the marinade, combine the honey, sherry and ginger and season to taste; place your cubed pork into the mix and let it coat lightly in the juice and then skewer with a piece of pork packed tightly against a slice of courgette, repeated until you reach the top. Season with salt and pepper.

Place on the side of the barbecue to cook for four minutes and then turn. Remove from the barbecue and let rest for a couple of minutes.

Serve with a basil pesto which is a handful of basil leaves blended with a pinch of sea salt, 1 clove garlic, a good dash of olive oil for moisture and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Serve on the top or on the side with a wedge of lime.

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